The next eclipse comes on the night of February 10-11, 2017, whereby the full moon will pass into the Earth’s faint penumbral shadow. This deep penumbral eclipse of the moon will be best viewed from Greenland, Iceland, Europe and Africa.
One fortnight (approximately two weeks) after this penumbral eclipse of the full moon, the new moon will pass directly in front of the sun to present an annular eclipse of the sun on February 26. Because the moon will be too far from Earth to completely cover over the sun’s disk, a thin ring – or annulus – of sunlight will surround the new moon silhouette. This annular solar eclipse will take place on February 26 in far-southern South America, the South Atlantic Ocean and southeastern Africa.
One semester (6 lunar months) after the February 11 penumbral lunar eclipse, the August 7 partial eclipse of the moon will be seen from the world’s Eastern Hemisphere. Then the long-awaited total solar eclipse for the United States on August 21 will happen one semester (6 lunar months) after the February 26 annular solar eclipse. Follow the links below to learn more about upcoming lunar and solar eclipses:
Get ready for a total solar eclipse visible from continental U.S. in 2017. It’ll happen on Monday, August 21, 2017 – with the path of totality cross from coast to coast – the first total solar eclipse visible on U.S. soil in a generation. The total eclipse will begin as the moon’s dark umbral shadow touches down in the northern Pacific and crosses the USA from west to east through parts of the following states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. The moon’s penumbral shadow will produce a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering most of North America. You can find more about the eclipse from EarthSky partner Fred Espenak, here.
Fortnight (approximate two-week) separation between solar and lunar eclipses. A solar eclipse always takes place within one fortnight of any lunar eclipse. For instance, in 2017, the penumbral lunar eclipse on February 10-11 comes one fortnight before the annular solar eclipse of February 26. The partial lunar eclipse on August 7 occurs one fortnight before the total solar eclipse of August 21.
Somewhat rarely, a solar eclipse can occur one fortnight before and after a lunar eclipse. This will next happen in the year 2018:
July 13: Partial solar eclipse
July 27: Total lunar eclipse
August 11: Partial solar eclipse
Somewhat rarely, a lunar eclipse can come one fortnight before and after a solar eclipse. This will next happen in the year 2020:
June 5: Penumbral lunar eclipse
June 21: Annular solar eclipse
July 5: Penumbral lunar eclipse
Bottom line: Dates of solar and lunar eclipses in 2017, and a preview of the great American total solar eclipse of 2017.
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky's popular Tonight pages since 2004. He's a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.